This easy recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup is the ultimate comfort food! A creamy potato soup base is swirled with cheese and sour cream, then topped with crispy bacon and green onions. But the best part? It's ready in less than an hour!
This creamy and cheesy recipe for Baked Potato Soup comes by its name honestly - it's loaded with crispy bacon, cheese, sour cream, and chopped green onions. lt's all of the things you love about a loaded baked potato, but packed into a warm and comforting bowl of soup.
Baked potato soup is a family favorite recipe, and every time I make it, everyone declares it "the best soup ever!" I mean, who could turn down something so creamy and indulgent? I know I couldn't.
Whenever I want to make a dinner that the whole family will love, this is one of the recipes I will come to again and again.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Made from scratch. This recipe uses all the basic ingredients, real bacon, and real cheese. It's the perfect way to show off your cooking skills!
- Flavorful. This is not your basic potato soup recipe! This creamy version is "loaded" with cooked bacon, cheese, sour cream, green onions, or whatever else you can dream up!
- Gluten-free. Because this recipe does not use a flour-based roux, the soup gets its thickness from the potatoes and heavy cream - making it completely gluten-free.
- Versatile. The base of this creamy soup is super neutral, so you can adjust the flavor based on your personal taste. Whatever you like on your baked potatoes will work with this recipe too!
- Potatoes: I recommend using russet potatoes for this recipe. They hold up well and provide a lovely thickness to the soup. If you prefer, you can use red potatoes.
- Bacon: This recipe calls for six slices of bacon. You'll use both the cooked bacon and the rendered bacon drippings for added flavor.
- Cheese: I recommend a good quality sharp cheddar cheese that's been freshly grated. Pre-shredded cheeses have anti-caking agents that prevent them from melting smoothly into soups.
- Sour cream: This provides thickness, a nice tanginess, and that classic baked potato taste. I like a good quality thick brand like Daisy or Good Culture.
- Chicken broth: AKA chicken stock. This can be store-bought or homemade. If using homemade or low-sodium, make sure to a good amount of salt to your taste.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, smoked paprika, and a touch of cayenne.
- Onions and garlic: These aromatics are sauteed in the rendered bacon grease until soft, releasing all of their deliciousness.
- Heavy cream: This provides thickness and creaminess, and makes this potato soup ultra indulgent.
Check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and the quantities needed.
- Dutch oven: You'll need a large pot with a lid or a Dutch Oven. I use and recommend a Lodge 6-quart model, although I have the Amazon Basics model, and that gets plenty of use too!
- Immersion blender (or potato masher): An immersion blender works perfectly for blending hot soups. If you don't have one, you can use a potato masher instead.
This comforting soup is filled with flavor and makes the perfect hearty meal. Between the bacon, potatoes, cream, and cheese, it's a super satisfying recipe that you'll love bringing to the dinner table.
Cooking the Bacon
Step one: Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, then add the bacon and cook until crisp (3-5 minutes).
Step two: Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel-lined plate and turn off the heat, allowing the pot to cool down.
Making the Soup Base
Step three: Turn the heat to medium-low, then add the chopped onion and saute until soft (4-5 minutes).
Then add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Step four: Add the cubed potatoes and all of the seasonings, then toss to coat the potatoes evenly.
Step five: Pour in the chicken broth and bring it to a boil.
Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Step six: After the soup has simmered, check the potatoes to see if they are easily pierced with a fork.
Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender (or potato masher) to blend most of the potatoes.
Make it Creamy
Step seven: Add the heavy cream, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese and stir well.
Step eight: Heat over low heat until warmed through and thickened.
Garnish and Serve
Step nine: Remove from the heat, then ladle into bowls and serve. Garnish with the crispy bacon pieces, sour cream, shredded cheese, and chopped green onions (or the toppings of your choice).
Storing Leftover Soup
- Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Reheat the soup in the microwave in 30-second intervals, or on the stovetop over low heat.
- Soup can be frozen, although it will separate and have a different texture.
- Transfer to freezer-safe containers (or into silicone molds like Souper cubes).
- Label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw before reheating.
- Cheddar cheese. Use a good quality cheddar cheese that is shredded fresh from the block. Pre-shredded cheeses are convenient but contain anti-caking agents, which can be grainy once melted.
- Potatoes and texture. Russet potatoes are best for this creamy loaded baked potato soup, as they help to thicken the soup.
- Blending the soup. Using an immersion blender (or masher) to puree the potatoes creates a creamy texture, but if you like your soup more rustic you can blend just a portion of the potatoes (or none at all).
- Broth. This recipe calls for chicken broth, but you could use vegetable broth or even beef broth if that's what you have on hand. Keep in mind that beef broth will give a darker color and more distinct flavor.
- With milk. If you want to make this recipe with milk instead of heavy cream, you can do so by preparing a basic roux. Cook the potatoes in the broth, and once cooked prepare a roux in a separate pot. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour, then slowly add about 1 ⅓- 1 ½ cups of whole milk. Whisk until smooth, then simmer on low heat until thickened (about 5 minutes). Add to the soup, along with the sour cream and cheese, and adjust seasonings, cheese, and salt to your taste.
- Bacon. If you prefer, you can use turkey bacon instead of traditional pork bacon. But since turkey bacon does not render any additional fat, you'll need to add butter or oil in order to saute the onions and garlic.
Gluten-free: This loaded potato soup recipe is gluten-free as written, but it is important to check the label of certain ingredients. Broth sometimes contains yeast extract made from barley, so check to make sure your broth is completely gluten-free (or make your own).
Low carb/keto: Substitute the potatoes for cauliflower florets, and reduce the broth to about 2 cups (since cauliflower doesn't thicken as starchy potatoes do).
Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and swap the bacon for your favorite vegetarian bacon (or leave it out).
Slow Cooker + Instant Pot Instructions
If you want to make this easy baked potato soup recipe in the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot, you can easily do that with some adjustments.
Crock Pot Instructions
- Cook the bacon and saute the onions and garlic in a large pot as directed (set the bacon pieces aside).
- Add the onions and garlic to a Crock Pot, along with the potatoes, seasonings, and broth.
- Cook on "low" for 4-6 hours, or on "high" for 3-4 hours.
- Add the heavy cream and sour cream. Stir and cook on "high" for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
- Sprinkle in the shredded cheese and stir until melted into the soup.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with the bacon bits, sour cream, cheese, and green onions.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Use the "saute" function to cook the chopped bacon until crisp, then drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Saute the onions and garlic in the bacon grease, then add in the potatoes, seasoning, and just 3 cups of broth.
- Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up, switch the valve to "venting" to do a quick pressure release.
- Add in the heavy cream and sour cream, and simmer using the "saute" function until warmed through and thickened.
- Stir in the cheese until melted. Serve and enjoy.
While an immersion blender works best for pureeing hot soup, a blender can be used (with extreme caution). Allow your soup to cool down to slightly warmer than room temperature, then add it in small batches to the blender (leaving plenty of room). Cover the top with a triple layer of kitchen towels and blend until smooth.
While most homemade chicken broth is gluten-free, it's important to check the labels of all store-bought chicken broth brands. Some brands use yeast extract that is sourced from barley, which contains gluten. Check the label for a gluten-free claim, and verify the ingredients list to be certain.
For most recipes, you can easily substitute plain Greek Yogurt for sour cream, but when it comes to soup recipes it doesn't work as well as traditional sour cream. There is often separation, as the yogurt doesn't assimilate into the sauce as easily.
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- 4 large russet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 6 slices bacon diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ cup ground cayenne
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ - 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup sour cream thick
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional garnishes: chopped green onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, crumbled bacon, etc.
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or tongs, and allow it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Turn the element off and let the pot cool for 5 minutes, which will help reduce the temperature of the rendered bacon drippings.
- After the pot has cooled, turn the heat to medium-low. Add the diced onion and sauté until the onions become translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, or until fragrant.
- Immediately add the diced potatoes, dried thyme, smoked paprika, dried rosemary, onion powder, and ground cayenne to the pot. Stir well, coating the potatoes with the dried seasonings.
- Pour in the chicken broth and increase the heat to medium-high, bringing it to a boil.
- Once a boil is reached, lower the heat to low-medium and cover the pot. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Using an immersion blender (or potato masher), partially blend the potatoes in the pot to thicken the soup, all while still leaving a few larger pieces for texture.
- Stir in the heavy cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Heat the soup over low heat until warmed through, thickened, and the cheese melts into the soup. Remove from the heat.
- Taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste, as well as any seasonings.
- Ladle the loaded baked potato soup into bowls and garnish with the crispy bacon, chopped green onions, sour cream (optional), and shredded cheese (optional).
- Serve and enjoy!
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